Becoming a Writer

Becoming a Writer

by Dorothea Brande


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781329926721
Publication date: 02/25/2016
Pages: 98
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Born in Chicago, Dorothea Brande (1893–1948) was a widely respected journalist, fiction writer, and writing instructor. Brande is widely known for her enduring guide to the creative process, Becoming a Writer, originally published in 1934 and still popular today. In 1936, Brande published a masterwork of practical psychology, Wake Up and Live! The book entered more than 34 printings and sold more than 1 million copies. For many years, Wake Up and Live!, with its simple and sound advice for personal excellence, rivaled the popularity of contemporaneous works such as Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Table of Contents

In Introduction19
1.The Four Difficulties25
The Difficulty of Writing at All
The "One-Book Author"
The Occasional Writer
The Uneven Writer
The Difficulties Not in Technical Equipment
2.What Writers are Like35
Cultivating a Writer's Temperament
False and Real Artists
The Two Sides of a Writer
"Dissociation" Not Always Psychopathic
Everyday Examples of Dual Personality
The Slough of Despond
3.The Advantages of Duplicity45
The Process of Story Formation
The "Born Writer"
Unconscious and Conscious
The Two Persons of the Writer
The Transparent Barrier
Keep Your Own Counsel
Your "Best Friend and Severest Critic"
The Right Recreation
Friends and Books
The Arrogant Intellect
The Two Selves Not at War
The First Exercise
4.Interlude: On Taking Advice61
Save Your Energy
Imagination Versus Will in Changing Habits
Displacing Old Habits
A Demonstration
The Right Frame of Mind
5.Harnessing the Unconscious69
Wordless Daydreams
Toward Effortless Writing
Double Your "Output"
6.Writing on Schedule75
Engaging to Write
A Debt of Honor
Extending the Exercise
Succeed, or Stop Writing
7.The First Survey81
Reading Your Work Critically
The Pitfalls of Imitation
Discovering Your Strength
A Footnote for Teachers
8.The Critic at Work on Himself89
A Critical Dialogue
Be Specific in Suggestions
Correction After Criticism
The Conditions of Excellence
Dictating a Daily Regime
9.Readings as a Writer99
Read Twice
Summary Judgment and Detailed Analysis
The Second Reading
Points of Importance
10.On Imitation105
Imitating Technical Excellences
How to Spend Words
Counteracting Monotony
Pick Up Fresh Words
11.Learning to See Again111
The Blinders of Habit
Causes of Repetitiousness
Recapturing Innocence of Eye
A Stranger in the Streets
The Rewards of Virtue
12.The Source of Originality119
The Elusive Quality
Originality Not Imitation
The "Surprise Ending"
Honesty, the Source of Originality
Trust Yourself
"Your Anger and My Anger"
One Story, Many Versions
Your Inalienable Uniqueness
A Questionnaire
13.The Writer's Recreation131
Busmen's Holidays
Wordless Recreation
Find Your Own Stimulus
A Variety of Time-Fillers
14.The Practice Story137
A Recapitulation
The Contagiousness of Style
Find Your Own Style
The Story in Embryo
The Preparatory Period
Writing Confidently
A Finished Experiment
Time for Detachment
The Critical Reading
15.The Great Discovery147
The Five-Finger Exercises of Writing
The Root of Genius
Unconscious, Not Subconscious
The Higher Imagination
Come to Terms with the Unconscious
The Artistic Coma and the Writer's Magic
16.The Third Person, Genius155
The Writer Not Dual But Triple
The Mysterious Faculty
Releasing Genius
Rhythm, Monotony, Silence
A Floor to Scrub
17.The Writer's Magic163
X Is to Mind as Mind to Body
Hold Your Mind Still
Practice in Control
The Story Idea as the Object
The Magic in Operation
Inducing the "Artistic Coma"
In Conclusion: Some Prosaic Pointers171
Have Two Typewriters
At the Typewriter: WRITE!
For Coffee Addicts
Coffee Versus Mate
Book and Magazine Buying

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Becoming a Writer 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing 22 days ago
If you think all books about writing are the same, you need to read this book.Ms. Brande focuses on the basics of writing (Get your butt in the chair at a certain time and WRITE, darn it!)But she also focuses on ways to release your subconscious mind, because, she says, that's where your genius is. She also addresses the discouragement that many writers face, and gives helpful advice to overcome it.She's witty, she's helpful, and she says things you won't hear in other 'how to write' guides.
AndrewBlackman on LibraryThing 22 days ago
This is a wonderfully lucid book. I would not hesitate to take writing advice from Dorothea Brande, for the simple reason that her own writing is so elegant and clear. As I was reading, I was reminded of George Orwell¿s dictum that good writing should be like a window pane. Brande¿s book, written in 1934, is a perfect exemplar. It does not draw attention to itself, but simply communicates the author¿s ideas in a clear, pleasing manner.Brande states from the outset that she will not deal with issues of technique. Even in 1934, there were plenty of books and writing courses to give advice on plot, pacing, etc. In any case, her belief is that in most aspiring writers, the problems holding them back are not technical, but psychological. The reason people turn up to workshops and classes and buy endless books is not to learn the craft, but to discover the secret of being a great writer."In almost every case he will be disappointed. In the opening lecture, within the first few pages of his book, within a sentence or two of his authors¿ symposium, he will be told rather shortly that genius cannot be taught; and there goes his hope glimmering."The aspiring writer may not believe that he/she is looking to acquire the secret of a writer¿s genius, but that¿s really what it is, even if only unconsciously held ¿ an idea that there is some kind of magic about writing. And Brande agrees: ¿I think there is such a magic, and that it is teachable. This book is all about the writer¿s magic.¿The rest of the book contains a lot of practical advice on setting schedules, etc., all of which is good. But the part that really stood out for me was her discussion of genius. For her it is not a rare gift owned only by the likes of Shakespeare; rather it¿s something that anyone can access, but most people don¿t know how to. She says that writers should think of themselves as split personalities: a hard-working, sensible artisan, and a free-spirited, spontaneous, sensitive artist. Both sides must be in balance: too much spontaneity and the writing never gets done; too much sense and the writing gets done but is no good.Having recognised this need for a split personality, it is then important to cultivate the sensitive ¿unconscious¿ side even as your workaday self gets you to your desk on time. One idea I loved was not talking about your writing until it is done. This is something I have always done without really knowing why ¿ it just seemed to work better for me that way. Brande¿s view is telling a story to friends before writing it down is very dangerous:"Your unconscious self (which is your wishful part) will not care whether the words you use are written down or talked to the world at large... Afterward you will find yourself disinclined to go with the laborious process of writing that story at full length; unconsciously you will consider it as already done, a twice-told tale."In addition, the unconscious is very sensitive to criticism, and the damage done by talking too freely can be severe:"Send your practical self out into the world to receive suggestions, criticisms or rejections; by all means see to it that it is your prosaic self which reads rejection slips! Criticism and rejection are not personal insults, but your artistic component will not know that. It will quiver and wince and run to cover, and you will have trouble in luring it out again to observe and weave tales and find words for all the thousand shades of feeling which go to make up a story."There¿s so much other valuable advice in this book that I can¿t summarise all of it. In fact, I feel as if I should read this book on a regular basis. So many of the ideas resonated with me, but they¿re the sort of thing that are easy to forget when you¿re mired in the routine of writing. So this is definitely one to keep on the shelf, and pull out at regular intervals, especially when things are getting tough and inspiration is hard to find.
lwf2006 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I bought this book at an used book store in Boston, MA while spending 2003 New Year's weekend there with a friend. It has sat on my bookshelf for three years before I picked it up on Sunday. Originally published in 1934, I wondered if the language would be intimidating for my contemporary literary tastes. Instead I have found the seeds of the philosphies that grew into other writing inspiration books. The ideas in Cameron's The Artist's Way, Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, Lamott's Bird by Bird and Maisel's Deep Writing are all contained in this slim volume. Before you start using writing technique books or workshops, read this book to build up your heart and courage for the enormous task at hand.
pb_29 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Inspirational, and so easy to follow. By the end of reading this book, you will probably have realised whether you are really suited to becoming a writer or not. Dorothea Brande's style is plain-speaking and insightful. The tasks set throughout the book encourage the reader to challenge themselves in the art of putting pen to paper. Enjoyable and practical, without being overly technical. Recommended.
JosephJ on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I first read this book about a year and a half ago when I began my MFA journey at Wilkes University. It was required reading for the fiction foundations course. I thought, at the time, "Really? A book written in the 30's about being a writer? What can this teach me?" The answer is: More than I was ready to handle. Rereading it now after having written 2 drafts of my first novel and beginning the task of a third major revision, I am blown away about how much of the book I subconsciously took to heart. I journal everyday--have since I was accepted in the Wilkes program and what it has done for is allowed me to be ready to write whenever and wherever I might have time and space to do so.Brande's assertions that writing was no longer for true craftsmen in the 30's because just about anybody "can afford a portable typewriter" had me cracking up because she would probably have an aneurism if she saw how just about anyone today could sit down and type up a few words via text or Ipad and call themselves a poet/writer.Very insightful book. New writers read it even though you probably won't pay attention to its brilliance until at least a year or more later when you pick it back up and are struck across the brow at apt Brande's understanding of the writerly life truly was and is.
LouCypher on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Very inspirational, I have always dabbled in writing but after finishing this book it made me want to sit down and take it a little more serious. Many different methods on bringing out that writer "magic" are discussed in very easy to do exercises. Definitely a must read for anyone thinking of becoming a writer.
Big_Reader18 More than 1 year ago
Very Helpful. I first read this in college. It inspired me to write (I'm a published author.) Also, not everyone knows Dorothea Brande wrote a mega-bestseller on living well, that still has many fans: Wake Up and Live.
clasique More than 1 year ago
This book hits the nail on the head (as they say) and is extremely informative and essential for all the would-be writers out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Want to be a Writer? Then read this book. It is bound to become a classic in the genre. If you are a blunted/stunted Artists for whatever reason? This book is for you.